Tigers bring back Joba Chamberlain

The Tigers signed Joba Chamberlain to a one-year contract.

LAKELAND, Fla. — Gone is the bushy beard that covered his face last year, but Joba Chamberlain is back with the Tigers.

Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said the team had signed Chamberlain to a one-year contract and he had passed his physical.

To make room for Chamberlain on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated Chad Smith for assignment. They have 10 days to trade Smith or he can be assigned to the minor leagues.

"We’re very happy to have Joba on board," Dombrowski said. "We stayed in contact with him throughout the winter. We always liked the job that Joba did for us last year. Really, it was more of a situation having added Joakim Soria last year and having (Bruce) Rondon come back, we felt very comfortable with the guys that we have.

"He wanted to come back. He liked it here. He understood our circumstances of limited ability to kind of pursue him as far as roster spots but also as far as dollars were concerned. But as time went on, he decided that he’d be in a position to accept our offer.

"He really wanted to come back here. I know he turned down some other offers that put him in a position to make more finances, but he was very happy here. He’s in good shape. We’re happy to have him back."

Chamberlain couldn’t stop smiling, whether he was embracing his teammates or speaking to the media.

"It starts at the top with Mr. I (owner Mike Ilitch), and obviously I want to thank him for giving me the opportunity to come back," Chamberlain said. "Just my teammates and my coaches, the city embraced me, and I loved playing there every day and I left it all on the field. For me, part of it too is I feel like I didn’t finish the season the way I wanted to, and we have unfinished business as a team and I personally do."

Chamberlain arrived with a (mostly) clean-shaven face, which wasn’t the case last year.

"We’re definitely keep it a little bit restrained from what it was last year," Chamberlain said. "That was a lot of growth. It won’t get that, trust me."

Chamberlain said he has already thrown several bullpens and is ready to go.

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